The wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that threatens endangered species' survival and human health as zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19 emerge. Cambodia is both a wildlife source and transit country, and illegal trafficking was rampant in 2001 when the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) was established to crack down on the trade. To date, WRRT has rescued over 69,000 live animals, apprehended over 7,700 traders, and confiscated large quantities of animal parts and contraband.
The illegal wildlife trade is a growing criminal enterprise that leaves once flourishing forests barren, undermines governments and threatens human health. Millions of animals are victimized by traffickers each year, sold into the illegal pet trade, killed for meat/parts or kept alive in inhumane conditions. To combat this trade requires dedicated teams with the authority, skills and knowledge to enforce laws that protect wildlife, investigate and bust traders and safely handle rescued animals.
WRRT is a mobile unit established by Wildlife Alliance (WA) and the Cambodian Government to fight wildlife crime nationwide. The team's military police, officials from the Forestry and the Fisheries Administrations, and WA managers work in concert with an informant network and utilize tips from the public to conducts undercover investigations into trafficking networks. WRRT intercepts wildlife shipments, builds solid court cases against offenders and rescues thousands of animals every year.
The WRRT's ongoing presence and success are effectively suppressing the wildlife trade. By enforcing the rule of law, WRRT disrupts networks that traffic international contraband such as African ivory through Cambodia, ensures offenders are prosecuted, seizes goods, and saves animals. Long-term, this project both ensures that more wild animals remain in their native habitats by deterring people from poaching and trading and helps threatened wild populations rebound by releasing rescued animals.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).